Shangri-La Singapore has a new “Time Out” weekend staycation for two at the lush Garden Wing, and I was fortunate enough to experience it myself.
Drawing inspiration from James Hilton’s 1933 novel, Lost Horizon, Shangri-La which was featured as a mystical haven in the novel is now a name synonymous with the highly-reputed chain of hotels worldwide. Shangri-La Singapore sits nicely tucked within a quiet neighbourhood in Orchard along Orange Grove Road, where the plants grow freely and where customers transition into a marvellous world of class and relaxation.
When I first arrived at Shangri-la, I could feel the fancy atmosphere begin to seep into my vehicle and I was left in a bit of a daze as this smartly-clad, “soldier-like” doorman opened my vehicle door and greeted me with a warm smile. I was ready to let my peasant self lead the regal life for a day.
Upon setting foot into the hotel lobby, not only will a chilly blast from the air-conditioning unit come up to welcome you but a highly-impressive wall adorned with intricate oriental designs will greet you as you make your way to the reception area.
At Shangri-La, I stayed at the Garden Wing which is located on the left end of the foyer. After checking in and having been attended to by a warm and smartly-dressed front desk clerk, I was guided to my room, with my heavy baggage left at the front desk to be brought in by an equally warm porter.
Shangri-la has been dubbed “Singapore’s other botanical garden” countless times before and upon entering the Garden Wing, I could immediately see why. The central area where the verdant plants and shy stalks of flowers blossom is flooded with pleasant, bright light which will put you in a sunny mood as you make your way to your room.
I adore luxury hotel beds for their extremely snug duvet covers and plush pillows and so, I was far from disappointed when I saw how beautifully-laid out this bed of pure comfort at the Garden Wing was. It took a lot of willpower to stop myself from promptly jumping onto the bed and messing up the sheets when I first entered the room.
Apart from the cozy bed and the television it faces, there is a lovely side of the room, complete with a decorative carpet, a cushioned couch and a glassy tea table. This was where I enjoyed a delightful mug of afternoon coffee and mulled over a book I would have otherwise no time to read. The sun washes in quite nicely into the room where you can soak up the rays within a fully-air-conditioned environment.
If you were to go out onto the balcony, you’d get a good view of the swimming pool where you can hear childish giggles and spirited bursts of laughter. I marveled at the architecture of the place, with each balcony being laced with bougainvillea plants, before heading back into the comforts of the cooled room.
It is mandatory for every hotel room to have a mini bar and this room did not disappoint. While I usually stay away from the scarily-priced items in a mini bar, I was thrilled to see that there was a fresh platter of fruits, complimentary bottles of water and a lovely golden box of chocolates for me to savour (without having to worry about being charged for them).
The theme of the tropics and paradise does not end in the bedroom. The toilet is furnished with one or two potted plants and well-prepped with clean, lush towels.
If you fancy a relaxing, bubbly bath, just utilize the tub to its fullest potential. The tub was polished clean, the water filled up quickly and if at any point, you feel slightly claustrophobic, you can open the slits in the window and let the air from within the bedroom calm your nerves.
After lazing around the room awhile, we made our way to the Lobby Court for our Afternoon High Tea. Decked with glitzy chandeliers, beautiful pillars and tall windows that flooded the area with light, the Lobby Court was a magnificent place to have our mid-day tea. We lounged on plush chairs and indulged in good food, feeling completely contented with life.
Our High Tea Set was a Three-Tier Easter Afternoon Tea Set ($42 per pax) which was specially offered for their Easter Sunday Week. Apart from looking very impressive, the snacks were tasty, going from a nice dose of savoury to a heavy fix of sweet.
On the first tier, there was a lovely serving of unique sandwishes:
1.Homemade Crepe with Smoked Salmon, Prawn, Egg and Ikura: The sushi-like rolls in the middle of the plate turned out to be tasty, juicy wraps of joy. There was a strong burst of flavours what with the smoked salmon being paired with ikura, prawns and being nicely balanced out with fresh bits of egg.
2. Open-faced Brioche with Quail Egg, Alaskan Crab and Chives: This delectable piece of toast was soft and very tasty. I’m not entirely sure if it was the lingering aftertaste from the smoked salmon but I tasted a strong smoked flavour of the Alaskan crab in this dish too.
3. Mini Croissant with Egg, Tuna and Cabbage Slaw: The croissant stuffed with egg, tuna and cabbage slaw was very refreshing mostly because of its filling. The delicate, bread-y layers of the croissant helped to balance out the light but hearty flavours of its insides.
4. Alaskan Crab Eclair: The eclair was soft and light but rather delicious too. Topped with a slight bit of mayonnaise and black sesame seeds, the flavours of the Alaskan crab from within were highlighted in appropriate amounts.
The next tier was a simple plate of delectable scones that came with a dollop of sour cream and of blueberry jam. I saved the scones for last, which might have been a mistake as I was full by the time I completed the first and second tiers. This did not stop me from devouring at least 2 of the scones however. They had a subtle sweet taste and crumbled nicely on my tongue which was exhilarating.
The final tier of the tea set comprised a fine selection of candied treats, some of which included a Curious Carrot Cake, a Very Berry Tart and a Sunny Side Up White Chocolate Egg. While all the treats were scrumptious in their own unique ways, only a true sweet tooth can go through the whole lot and come through the other end unscathed.
We sipped on warm, bitter cups of Cappuccino to balance out the rich flavours of the afternoon snacks. It was a sublime experience.
Part of the package included an exciting bit with Swan Floats. The swimming pool at Shangri-La was a splendid place to hang out at as the waters were cooling, the sultry sun was not too harsh and the pool was not overcrowded so we could enjoy our floats (in peace).
The Swan Float was a perfect way for us to take turns lazing on and basking in the glorious sun. There is more than enough space for you to fit your bum right in and float around wistfully.
When it came night time, the fun times did not simmer down and die out. The package included a much-needed Movie Marathon Package. This was simply perfect for a rather sedentary being like myself. After snuggling under the oh so comfortable sheets, we picked a movie and went from there for the rest of the night.
But wait. Apart from our movie marathon package, we had the opportunity to indulge ourselves in Bellini Hour from our room. Bellini Hour essentially involves the less lazy of the two reaching over and calling the concierge who will send up a mobile barista with his trusty cart of bottled drinks and mixes to prepare drinks for you and your partner.
Toast to a lovely weekend!
When the morning rays seeped in through the curtains and the splendour from the night before sidled away, we trudged down to The Waterfall, an Italian restaurant right by the pool for our breakfast.
If you have troubles finding the place, The Waterfall is appropriately located in front of a waterfall.
The Waterfall was a pretty place to have our breakfast. Children’s laughter muffled in the background and the occasional splash to help jolt you out of your sleepy stupour. The sheltered area is well-equipped with speedy fans so have no fear that you’ll sweat through your clothes at breakfast.
The breakfast buffet spread at The Waterfall was impressive and there was much to choose from. From healthy greens to oily hash brown and meats, from pastas to oats, the restaurant definitely knew how to cater to different people’s breakfast needs.
As part of the package, we were subject to a breakfast meal which comprised of a toast and of pancakes of waffles. My friend went for the Poached Eggs and Eggs Benedict while I opted for the Scrambled Eggs. Either way, both came with a generous portion of smoked salmon, rucola leaves atop a toasty piece of bread and complete with a savoury side of asparagus, cherry tomatoes and mushrooms.
Here is the scrambled eggs version.
After I was done with my delicious serving of scrambled eggs and smoked salmon, I dug into the Ricotta Pancakes which were absolutely tasty. The pancakes were soft and fluffy and its sweet syrupy flavours were nicely balanced out by the zesty slices of strawberries and blueberries.
And since my appetite is not easily sated, I returned to the buffet spread to get myself plates of sweet and savoury foods. The bliss I feel when I dig into a beautiful, hearty breakfast meal like this knows no bounds, really.
And finally, to bring things to a final beautiful close, I indulged myself in a cup of Cappucino, which if you haven’t figured out by now is my favourite type of coffee.
My overall experience at Shangri-La on this staycation trip at the Garden Wing was splendid and it was a real shame that it only lasted a day and half. If you are in dire need of a break from the humdrum of your hectic work life, I do highly recommend the Shangri-La Staycation package which indubitably took away my troubles for a brief moment in time. It was just the kind of break I needed and was far from disappointed with all that it had to offer.
Expected Damage: Rates start from $465 per night